Hustle play goes wrong for Girard, as UNC earns last-minute win: (final score, recap) (2023)

Syracuse, N.Y. — The Syracuse basketball team will host North Carolina at 9 p.m. Tuesday at the JMA Dome.

The game will air locally on ESPN.

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Hustle play goes wrong for Girard, as UNC earns last-minute win: (final score, recap) (1)

Final: That’s going to be it. Story of the night is going to be the hustle play of Joe Girard III gone wrong as he tried to make the save under his own basket, giving the Tar Heels a critical layup to take the lead. Tar Heels win 72-68.

The Orange, who need to end the year with an incredible run to avoid a make-or-break ACC Tournament, see another chance for a big win slide by. Syracuse now 1-6 in Quad 1/2 games and will need a miracle run.

Nance had a game-high 21. Girard played well with 18, and was nearly the hero after burying that clutch 3. Just a tough late-game shift in emotions for him.

:10.7: Mintz called for a flagrant foul on the drive. Tar Heels make 1 of 2, then get the ball back. Jim Boeheim not happy about the flagrant. Mintz then commits his fifth as the Orange are forced to foul.

:10.7: Charge called on Judah Mintz as he tries to drive for the game-tying bucket. North Carolina now up 1 with the ball. R.J. Davis down after absorbing the shot. That’s the second elbow that Davis has taken to the head today.

:17.7: Ugh. A potentially crushing moment for SU. Nance made the first, missed the second. With the rebound headed out of bounds, Joe Girard III dove and saved it to Nance right under the basket. Layup and lead for UNC. Great hustle goes wrong.

:21.4: Jesse Edwards makes his fifth foul count, stopping Pete Nance from dunking to tie the game. Free throws coming.

:53.3: Joe Girard gives Syracuse the lead with a deep 3-pointer after faking Leaky Black out of the picture. Girard had all day to line it up, but it’s the type of shot a lot of guys over-think. Syracuse gets a stop at the other end.

1:39: Maliq Brown with a tip-in after a Judah Mintz drive. Then a turnover by UNC. Orange can take the lead here.

2:07: North Carolina bumps its lead to 3 on an R.J. Davis jumper. Followed a missed opportunity by Jesse Edwards who got a mismatch, backed his defender all the way down under the rim but couldn’t covert the bunny.

3:29: Judah Mintz takeover happening. His bucket to give Syracuse the lead was taken off the board on an iffy charge. He does it again with another layup. Then UNC reponds with a Pete Nance bucket. Orange trail by 1. Orange have the ball. Fun finish coming. 64-63. Both centers have four fouls. That could be the difference too.

5:36: Judah Mintz doing his best to rally SU back. He converts a layup to make it a one-possession game again. Then he draws a foul on the next possession. Two free throws coming. He makes both. Now a one-point game.

6:36: North Carolina gets a little separation again. A nice in-bounds play leads to a layup by Leaky Black. Caleb Love adds a free throw. Tar Heels lead 62-57.

7:43: Great rally from Syracuse to pull to within 59-57. Like so many teams we’ve seen this year, the Tar Heels were sped up by the press and made some bad choices. Chris Bell and Joe Girard III with 15 points each to lead the Orange.

13:09: Trouble for Syracuse now as Jesse Edwards picks up some quick fouls early in the second half. He now has four. North Carolina leads 53-46. Tar Heels scored a couple of fastbreak baskets in that flurry. Armando Bacot with 18 points, 7 rebounds. Dominating the interior as was expected. Not a lot of contact on the fouls from Edwards. Blame the refs for most of it but credit UNC at least a little. Tar Heels get the ball to the basket and make it difficult for officials, who are prone to anticipation calls.

15:10: Incredible play in that last stretch by Jesse Edwards racing out to the corner to block a corner 3-pointer. Hakim Warrick would be proud. Edwards has four blocks. North Carolina leads 46-44 thanks to a Caleb Love floater. Orange ball but only 3 seconds on the shot clock out of the break.

17:40: Great spurt for Syracuse out of halftime. Orange on a 6-2 run, with a couple of fastbreak baskets in the mix. We’re all tied up. R.J. Davis being look at on the UNC bench after absorbing an unintentional elbow from Judah Mintz.

Halftime: North Carolina 38, Syracuse 34. Armando Bacot and Joe Girard both have 12 at halftime. Syracuse only gave up two offensive rebounds, a big win for the Orange. North Carolina does seem to have a good plan against the zone. Pete Nance looks comfortable in the middle with the ball, and that allows UNC to position its guards around the 3-point arc and use Armando Bacot as a dump down option.

Not an ideal final stretch for Syracuse. Judah Mintz missed with 5.1 seconds left, enough time for UNC to race down the floor. Mintz picked up his second foul on a take to stop the breakout.

:23.7: The big guys are playing really hard. Jesse Edwards flung to the ground during a tie-up with Armando Bacot. Clean play, Showed the strength of Bacot. Syracuse keeps pulling close but, each time, the Tar Heels seem to sense the urgency and score. North Carolina leads 38-34. Syracuse should get the final possession.

3:16: Syracuse keeps clawing back. Orange now with the ball and trailing just 30-27. Benny Williams with a very athletic driving layup to highlight that section of play. Syracuse wants him driving as much as possible and not settling for jumpers. Syracuse forcing Armando Bacot to make tough baskets in the lane. So far he’s making enough of them to keep the Tar Heels ahead.

Syracuse has benefited from a stretch where UNC has been sitting Caleb Love (2 fouls). Love is UNC’s deep threat and the Tar Heels don’t have many. It’s allowed the SU zone to avoid over-reacting on the perimeter.

7:23: Joe Girard looking exceptionally confident and Chris Bell knocks down a 3-pointer during that segment. Syracuse cuts the deficit to 26-21. Orange had it down to 3, but Armando Bacot scored inside. Girard has 10 points, 3 turnovers. He’s really trying to give the Orange a chance.

10:53: North Carolina pulled Leaky Black off the floor and Joe Girard III got started. Orange cuts the UNC lead to 22-16. UNC’s Caleb Love has 9 points, all on 3-pointers. Girard has eight points.

14:26: Shocking news. Another awful start for Syracuse. North Carolina knocks down three 3-pointers in the opening segment. Combine that with a pair of Armando Bacot scores on the interior. Another slow start for the Orange, which you read plenty about heading into tonight’s game. Chris Bell, of the frequent rebounding struggles, did get a putback bucket. North Carolina leads 15-6.


Syracuse needs to make a run just to be part of the bubble conversation, but tonight’s game against North Carolina is the type of meaningful win the Orange needs to string together.

The Tar Heels aren’t quite as dominant on the offensive glass as they have been in recent years but center Armando Bacot is one of the best in the country and the ACC’s leading rebounder. Keeping good rebounding teams from eating up the inside of the zone is a traditional challenge.

It will be interesting to see who North Carolina chooses to put Leaky Black on. He is North Carolina’s best defender and, with his 6-foot-9 height, is capable of erasing guards on the offensive end.

The Tar Heels aren’t a great 3-point shooting team (31.6 percent) so expect the Orange to pack it in. Keep an eye on whether Puff Johnson is available off the bench for UNC. He missed UNC’s last game and is the type of capable shooter who might see spot-duty against the zone if North Carolina’s offense gets stuck.

A few more notes:

Syracuse has at least three special guests tonight. Top 100 recruit Elijah Moore will be attending the game as a guest of Syracuse booster Adam Weitsman. Weitsman flew him in on a plane along with rappers Fabolous and A Boogie wit da Hoodie.

Despite the debate about whether a switch at forward in the starting lineup would help Syracuse, Jim Boeheim is rolling out the usuals: Judah Mintz, Joe Girard III, Chris Bell, Benny Williams and Jesse Edwards.

Ace North Carolina reporter C.L. Brown reports that Puff Johnson will be out tonight.

The game is now scheduled to tip-off at 9:10 p.m.

North Carolina also using its usual starting lineup: Caleb Love, R.J. Davis, Leaky Black, Pete Nance and Armando Bacot.

Contact Chris Carlson anytime: Email | Twitter | 315-382-7932


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